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Starting a crèche in India : legal compliances to follow

July 03, 2021
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This article has been written by  Lakshmi Pillai, pursuing a Diploma in Advanced Contract Drafting, Negotiation, and Dispute Resolution from LawSikho

Introduction 

Today, India is having more nuclear families compared to joint families. And working women in urban areas are increasing day by day. Therefore, 1 out of 4 children born in India does not have the proper support of a skilled attendant. While we are following western culture we also need to find answers to such issues. The parents in urban areas are left with three options. Either to call their parents to take care of their children until the child becomes independent. Or either having working hours with flexible timings. And the last option is to find an attendant to take care of the child on a part-time or full-time basis. 

The last alternative becomes extinct if there is an issue of earning and cost of daycare professionals for the child. Therefore, one of the solutions which we see mushrooming in cities is daycare centres. As per the latest data (2019), the number of creches under the National Creche Scheme is 7930. And often working parents who are earning for their livelihood choose daycare centres for their children.

What is daycare?

The service of providing child care is known as daycare or childcare homes. There are some usual characteristics that distinguish the day-care homes from the other institutions. The general characteristics of the daycare are as follows:

  1. Target child age – group – 0-6 years of age child.
  2. Daycare timings – the timings vary, it can be run for 4-6 hours, 6 days a week.
  3. Total size – the size of the per bath can be 20-40 children (as per facilities and staff)
  4. Institution of an organisation – it can be instituted on a profit basis, proprietorship, or partnership basis.
  5. Regulations – there are no specific regulations for such institutions.
  6. Staff – Mostly female staff is preferred. The staff can include the founders, ECCE (Early childhood care and education) qualified teachers, and supporting caregivers.

Types of daycares 

As there is a huge demand for daycares in cities, we can see various types of daycare institutions in the city. The types of daycares are as follows:

  1. Workplace daycares: In this type of daycare, onsite daycares are present in the companies where the parent is working. Parents can take their children to work and drop them at the daycare facility provided by the company. These daycare facilities are more prevalent in foreign countries.
  2. Daycare attached to school – This type of daycare centre is attached to a school. Therefore more qualified teachers are there to handle the child.
  3. Daycare based on homes – This is commonly seen in India, the caretakers run a daycare in their home itself. This kind of daycare system generally occupies a small number of children. They are run by homemakers with the help of a few assistants.
  4. Private daycare – Private daycare is run by individuals or a group of individuals. They will arrange the place and staff. They manage the daycare. As per space and facilities, they decide the strength of children be accommodated per batch.
  5. Private daycare chains – These are franchises that are run by the same management at different places with the same rules and regulations. They will have a staff group for each branch. The total number of children managed will be quite larger in comparison to other types of daycare systems. Example – Eurokids, Kangaroo kids, etc.   

Importance of daycare

From the parents’ perspective, having a good daycare is important so they can assure that their children are safer. A parent who is working gets disordered while balancing their life with work. So having a trained institution to take care of the child will help the parent to have a work-life balance. A first-time parent may not be aware and know how to train their kids. Admitting the child to daycare will benefit the child to get specialised care and develop required skills in them. 

A good daycare is important from the perspective of children as well. The child will be able to develop himself socially, emotionally, and physically in the environment of daycare. As there are trained professionals in the daycare, they know how to improve motor control of the child and inculcate good habits in the child (for eg: toilet training). Going to daycare will also help the kid to improve his social interaction skills. Admitting a child to daycare will also help the child to be independent and reduce the chances of separation anxiety from parents.

Checklist to start a crèche/daycare center/nursery in India

Some safety and facility checks are as follows

The legal mandate of daycare/ crèches under various Acts of India 

As per the current status, India still does not have an Act that especially lays down rules regarding daycare institutions. However, there was an amendment made in the Maternity Benefits Act, 1961, which states that establishments that have more than 50 or more employees shall necessarily create crèche facilities for women employees. It is to be noted that, as per the amendment made out in the Act to date there are no rules made for its implementation.

There are various other Acts in which crèches are mandated:

Guidelines for setting up and running a crèche facility under the Maternity Benefit Act 2017

The Ministry of Women and Child Development Government of India has provided some guidelines under Section 111 A of The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017, which was effective from 1st July 2017. The scheme is named as ‘National Creche Scheme’. The guidelines for setting up and running a crèche facility under the scheme  are as follows:

  1. Temporary,
  2. Daily wage,
  3. Consultant, and
  4. Contractual personnel.

Infrastructure of crèche

  1. More preferable on the ground floor.
  2. The centre should be made of concrete (pakka) structure.
  3. A minimum space of 10 to 12 sq. ft. per child.
  4. The room should have proper light, no unsafe places shall be present nearby crèche like a drain, pits, etc, availability of safe and potable drinking water, demarcated different areas shall be there for the different age group of children.

Conclusion 

There is no specific central legislation that covers the daycare institution. The guidelines provided by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India are quite laudable. However, these guidelines are rarely followed in daycare centres. An authority to check the implementation will be quite helpful for the workers. 

References


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